Calera walks off in extra innings on senior night to sweep Jemison series

Published 5:37 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After a busy Monday that saw them defeat the Montevallo Bulldogs 2-1 in Montevallo and the Jemison Panthers 13-2 in Jemison, the Calera Eagles returned home on Tuesday, April 16 in hopes of honoring their seniors with a win on senior night.

The Eagles secured their second win in two days over Jemison, this time in walk-off fashion in an 8-7 victory in eight innings, to finish the regular season 17-11 and on a winning note heading into their first-round series with Spanish Fort.

After a scoreless first inning from both teams, Jemison took advantage of free base runners in the top of the second to score off an error and a groundout and open up a 2-0 lead.

Calera then got a run back in the bottom half of the frame thanks to balk that brought Joshua Rhoads home and cut the deficit in half.

The third inning came and went without a run, but the Panthers tacked on another run in the top of the fourth with two outs after a wild pitch made the score 3-1.

However, Calera benefitted from an error on Jemison’s side in the bottom of the inning when an error by the Panthers catcher allowed a run to score and put the Eagles down just 3-2 after four innings.

Jemison would respond with a run off a wild pitch followed quickly by another run off a fielder’s choice in the same at-bat. Two batters later, an RBI single put the Panthers in front 7-2.

Calera started its comeback in the bottom of the sixth as it slowly but surely clawed its way back into the game over the final two innings.

Zach Sharpton came home off a wild pitch with the bases loaded and no outs in the inning, and after an error and a strikeout, Jemison’s pitcher balked again and brought Jaiden Brown home to make the score 7-5 at the end of the inning.

Dalton Ash earned a pair of strikeouts to end the top of the seventh which kept the Panthers off the scoreboard and set up Calera’s offense to finish the comeback.

With one on and the Eagles down to their last out, a walk and a hit by pitch loaded up the bases, and then two more errant throws hit Calera batters to score a pair of runs and tie up the game at 7-7.

That score held through the end of the inning to send the game to extra innings, and after a one-two-three top of the eighth, the Eagles capitalized in the bottom half of the inning.

A one-out walk put a runner on base, but the next Calera batter struck out to put the Eagles at two outs. However, Conner Mosley then stole second, which set up Sharpton to drive him home on an RBI single to earn the walk-off win.

Ash took the win with four innings of relief, earning six strikeouts against one run, two hits and a walk.

Calera will now hit the road to face Spanish Fort on Friday, April 19 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Games one and two will be at 5 and 7:30 p.m. respectively with game three to be played if needed on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m.